Amsterdam has many secret places, and some of them should probably remain that way, but the wonderful new book Secret Amsterdam from Jonglez is sure to tell you plenty you didn’t know about this fun and fascinating city. It’s part of the Jonglez ‘Secret’ series, and having already read and raved over their London and Paris guides, I really wanted to check out this new 2nd edition of the companion Amsterdam guidebook. It didn’t disappoint, and keeps up the same exceptionally high standard.
Just glancing at the back cover and what it promises will tell you if this is the kind of book for you. Personally I love finding out little-known facts, and uncovering offbeat stories and lesser-known museums, and this book promises them all and more in its 318 pages. It includes, for instance, where to take your boat for a drive-in pizza, explains what Amsterdam has to do with the invention of cognac, tells you where you can make love quite legally in the open air, and lets you know where you’ll find a tribute to the city’s prostitutes. (Read our page on Amsterdam’s Red Light District).
Sex and Shopping
Amsterdam isn’t just about sex, of course. There’s drugs and rock ‘n’ roll as well! Oh, and shopping. One of the joys of this book is that it covers everything equally, and here you’ll be guided to shops like the avante-garde design of the Shoebaloo luxury shoe shop, an Art Deco tobacco shop, the Boutique of the Little Ladies (which sells craft work by women throughout the Netherlands to help them gain financial independence), a herbalist’s shop, and the most stylish pharmacy you’ll ever see.
Amsterdam is a quirky city anyway, but the authors manage to find numerous surprises including an indoor ski slope (see below), some toilets with transparent doors, a palm tree, a pumping station that has been turned into a guesthouse, and a hotel which has beds big enough for seven people.
Amsterdam’s Secret Places
Secret Amsterdam is attractively laid-out, with colour photographs on practically every spread. The city is divided into eight different districts, and each district starts with a colour map showing you where you can find the main entries. And in addition to the main entries, many pages also tell you what else you can see in the neighbourhood, or have snippets of unusual information and amusing stories.
It’s one of those rare travel guides which you could read from cover to cover, or can dip into at random and always come up with something worth reading about and worth seeing. Whether you’re going to Amsterdam for the 1st or 101st time, packing a copy of this guide is guaranteed to give you a much more enjoyable visit.
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